“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.””

Jim Jarmusch

Any creative work consists in peering at colleagues and in constant repetition – the simulation of the creative process. If you are guided by the categories proposed by Jean Baudrillard, then advertising ideas can be called third order simulacra, originally designed for reproducibility. If your idea cannot be repeated, then it is weak . When generating “new” ideas, we simply create copies by modulating the differences.

Steal, copy, adapt

Ideas exist to be stolen.

For an ideal world, it is true that you can’t put someone else’s idea in the portfolio (strictly speaking, the idea cannot be put there at all, a case can be shown in the portfolio). Therefore, the task of a specialist is to figure out how the idea can be finalized in order to boast a project created on its basis. Everything is simple here: you just put the borrowed idea in a new context – and it becomes yours.

After Hurricane Katrina, artist Candy Chang invited the residents of ruined New Orleans to decide for themselves what should surround them. On the walls of the buildings (and what was left of them) stickers appeared “I want it to be …” (“I Wish This Was …”), anyone could add a continuation of the phrase.

There is a good example of Sberbank that  transformed this idea: turned the stock from offline into digital, focused on Big Data and added a commercial component.


Borrowing ideas doesn’t mean that you don’t need to create new content. On the contrary, it is necessary to generate ideas a lot. And it’s always good  to use recognizable images and, accordingly, other people’s ideas. First, it increases the productivity of creative work, and second, it is a good way to join the circulation of mass culture.
And here there is another (safe for reputation) option, how to transfer other people’s ideas into a new context. Quoting and references – reminiscences, allusions, parodies will help.

The main thing to understand is that idea is an instrument, not a goal. Even when a useless creative is created for  creativity, it is used as a tool, for example, to receive awards at festivals. And this is how we, clever people  understand that they are selling not ideas, but solutions.


Therefore, we must treat our ideas in our own way. Don’t worry, if they are stolen, do not be sad, passing them from hand to hand, and do not hesitate to take. Take them and try on your clients, because if you don’t realize the idea, you don’t know how it  works.

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